In the context of hair and beauty, women have always been subject to debate. Fairy tales like
Rapunzel glorify the connotation of long hair as being beautiful. On the other hand, many
religions press on the covering of head hair by females as a symbol of modesty. The point;
however, does not end here.
In recent times, the hair industry is proving to be big in business. The marketing of content is
done efficiently by experts to ensure that proper word is distributed amongst the general
public. This creates a wave of influence. People believe and stand behind what they see on the
screen, read in the paper, or watch on banners citywide. The idealization of Western culture
primarily gains spotlight as light, straight, and dyed hair of aging women are advertised by
Hair extensions and wigs are also being embraced by numerous women around the world as a
direct result of mass manipulation by celebrities. However, here a question about the source of
this hair arises. Where does the hair come from? From corpses, willing donors, or is it bought at
a cheap rate from starving, desperate women in third world countries?
Sales of hair extensions and wigs round-up to be worth between $250 million to over $1 billion.
And by 2023, it is estimated to go up over $10 billion. In India, women’s hair is of big trade.
Some women sell their “comb hair” regularly for a few rupees while on the other hand, proper
monetization occurs in temples. A large number of people visit the two main temples in India to
make wishes they desperately want their god to fulfill. And for that, they need to make a
sacrifice to show god their devotion. Mostly, women shave their entire heads. The temple
collects tons of hair regularly and then auctions it off to the highest bidder at the end of the
week or so. Tirupati temple, the biggest gatherer of human hair on the planet – and
furthermore the most visited sacred spot on the planet, with a normal of 100,000 travelers for
each day – nets a normal $3m (£2.1m) a year from this exchange.
The question remains; is this all linked to the corrupt capitalism we follow today? Is this all a
fight for a higher status in the social hierarchy? Is this the way to support the rich and exploit
There isn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. However, it is nothing but a fact that women belonging from
underdeveloped countries are being constantly crushed under the bus of capitalization; the hair
industry is simply a colossal example of this.
Ethical capitalism revolves around the country striving for equal opportunities for everyone.
Unethical capitalism revolves around the country striving for the wealth to remain with the rich
and for the poor to be easily exploited for their own benefit.
At the end of the day, In this capitalist world; consumers care about the price they have to pay
instead of the much larger problem: the unethical global hair trade.